Drawn from both natural and manufactured products, Erika Verzutti's playful sculptures explore the imagery of human reproductive organs, fertility, and procreation. Verzutti works across a spectrum of materials, from bronze, concrete, and aluminium to clay, papier mâché, and paint.Read More
Ordinary and commonplace objects often take on suggestive and bodily implications in Erika Verzutti's sculptures. In Boyfriend (2014), a pair of ostrich egg shells peek out from underneath a blanket of bronze, calling to mind the image of a couple in bed, or female or male anatomy. In the papier mâché-and-polystyrene Mulher Fruta (2017), on the other hand, two circular forms rest above a triangular body. Individually, their shapes resemble fruits; together, perhaps the curves of a female body.
Verzutti explained her use of fruit shapes in an artist talk held in conjunction with the group exhibition Under the Same Sun: Art from Latin America Today at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2014), saying that fruits are 'like found objects'. That is, they are universal motifs that anyone can recognise.
In addition to eggs and fruits, Venus is a recurring motif in Verzutti's work. In Venus on Fire (2013), the eponymous Roman goddess of love, beauty, sex, and fertility is an anthropomorphic figure with parts inspired by fruits such as pumpkins and sugar-apples. Verzutti's Venus is also partly drawn from the Venus of Willendorf: a Paleolithic fertility figurine depicting a nude woman. In 2019, a large-scale version of Venus on Fire, titled Venus Yogini, was installed outside the Aspen Art Museum.
The swan is another recurring form in Verzutti's work. In her solo exhibition, Swan with Stage, at SculptureCentre, Long Island City, New York (2015), the eponymous centrepiece depicted a white abstraction of a swan, made from Styrofoam, iron, polyurethane, and fibreglass, and acrylic. Cinse com Pincel, from the same year, is another swan form, executed in bronze and plaster and featuring a paintbrush as a readymade component.
Beyond Cinse com Pincel, Erika Verzutti has frequently incorporated painting ephemera, paint, and painterly effects in her sculptural works. Cast in bronze, Two Eyes Two Mouth (2015) is marked by three incisions and cavities in the surface, two of which have been painted in blue and red to evoke eyes and lips, while in Romana (Blue) (2011), the artist has spread a thin layer of blue wax across a tall concrete form.
Erika Verzutti's work also reflects her broad knowledge of Latin American, European, and North American modernist and contemporary art. The erect form in Tarsila com Koons (2015), for example, echoes the waves in the paintings of leading 20th-century Latin American artist Tarsila do Amaral, while the sleek-surfaced blue ball refers to the metal sculptures of American artist Jeff Koons.
YEAR, Alison Jacques Gallery, London (2020); Mutations/Creations 3, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2019); Ex Gurus, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York (2018); Swan, Cucumber, Dinosaur, Pivô, São Paulo (2016); Glory Hole: Beleza Ainda Vital, Galeria Jaqueline Martins, São Paulo (2016); Mineral, Tang Museum, Skidmore College, New York (2014).
La lenta explosión de una semilla, OTR Espacio de Arte, Madrid (2020); A Burrice dos Homens, Galerie Bergamin & Gomide, São Paulo (2019); A Terceira Margem, Anozero'19—-Coimbra Biennial of Contemporary Art, Portugal (2019); Wiggle, Galerie Greta Meert, Brussels (2018); Nightfall, Mendes Wood DM, Brussels (2018); Viva Arte Viva, 57th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale (2017); 32nd Bienal de São Paulo (2016).
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